Kerala

Govt. sounds warning on drought

Significant drop in farm output anticipated

In a dire warning of the tough days ahead for the State, the government on Wednesday revealed that the unprecedented drought conditions had affected vast tracts of farmland, dealing a crippling blow to farmers.

Revenue Minister E. Chandrasekharan informed the Assembly that 30,353.06 hectares of farmland had already been affected, resulting in a crop loss of ₹225 crore. Paddy farmers were the worst hit, suffering a loss of ₹106 crore due to crop damage in 26,499.42 hectares.

Making a special statement under Rule 300 in the House, he said other crops including coconut, banana, vegetables and cash crops were also expected to be affected by the advancing drought. The government anticipated a significant drop in agricultural output, impacting on the economy and every sphere of activity in the State.

The reservoirs in the State were down to 44% of their storage capacity and the groundwater level had gone down by 2 to 2.5 m, representing a serious crisis.

Mr.Chandrasekharan said 5,698 borewells had been repaired and 9,453 ponds restored in all districts. The government had imposed curbs on digging of borewells for commercial and industrial use till May 31.

Water kiosks and tanker lorries had been pressed into service to provide drinking water in parched areas. Adequate funds had been sanctioned to each district for water supply and Ministers deputed to oversee the drought mitigation measures.

The Minister said the Forest Department had initiated measures to check the migration of animals from forests to human settlements in search of water.

An all party delegation from the State was scheduled to move the Central government with a plea for assistance for drought mitigation.

Mr.Chandrasekharan sought the cooperation of elected representatives, officials and the general public to conserve water resources and check wastage.

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Printable version | Jul 11, 2020 6:05:55 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/govt-sounds-warning-on-drought/article17388196.ece

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